Juventus are finally at the summit of the Calcio for the first time in the 2015-16 season after a late strike from substitute striker Simone Zaza gave them a 1-0 win over Napoli. In a close match that both sides had their chances in, it was the injury-hit Bianconeri who seized the initiative in the Serie A title race.
After the game, manager Massimiliano Allegri commented on the tactical battle that he and his Partenopei counterpart Maurizio Sarri had just waged -
"It was a very tactical match.
"We have this objective in our sights. It'll be very difficult, as there are 13 games to go and Napoli again proved themselves to be a very good side both individually and as a unit.
"It was a balanced encounter and only a moment could change it. I compliment the lads for their performance and their patience.
"We needed this attitude and tempo, because the likes of Higuain, Callejon, Insigne, Allan and Hamsik can cause huge problems if they run into space. The lads did really well to block off the spaces between the lines.
"Apart from that chance in the first half stopped by Leonardo Bonucci's intervention, we allowed Napoli very little.
"We had to go back to playing four at the back tonight and it's a good sign, as it means we can play with this system and have guarantees.
"It was a sort of lopsided 4-4-2, as we don't have a winger on the left and used Paul Pogba there."
Allegri also spoke about the changes he made that delivered the win, with substitutes Alex Sandro assisting another sub Zaza to score -
"At that time I made the tactical change so we had Alex Sandro going one-on-one against the Napoli full-back. I knew only an incident could shake up the balance of the match and Zaza provided it.
"It was a tactical game and Napoli used up a lot of energy, as Insigne and Callejon were practically wingers and therefore had to run 50 metres on every counter to reach the goal.
"We could've done a little better in possession, but we played with great authority."
On Oct. 28, Juve were 12th after 10 games with just 12 points, their worst ever start to a Serie A season. Fifteen consecutive wins later, they are top of the table -
"Nothing happens by chance. We started with seven or eight new players, had some injuries and other unfavourable situations, but once we found our shape and organisation we improved both as individuals and a unit.
"The so-called oldies went back to leading the way and everything went well. I always tell the players we can't have just one system and that situations change during a game, so we must we quick to read those situations and adjust.
"Daniele Rugani did very well coming off the bench in a difficult situation. Andrea Barzagli had an extraordinary match, as did Bonucci until he got that knock.
"We do need more patience and to improve in possession, as especially in the Champions League with Bayern Munich we will need a lot of patience and hard work."
On the subject of preventing match-winner Zaza from leaving during the January transfer window -
"I'm glad I stopped him leaving. At the end of the year the difference will be made by the depth we have in our squad. Now we have a match against Bologna and then against Bayern Munich. "